Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blessings

153. For a full heart and so many blessings.
154. That my birthday is in March
155. That March is the prettiest month- in FL
156. For a beautiful day
157. For my Mom, who knows me so well and just what thrills me (Gene Stratton Porter's "Her Father's Daughter" as a present!)
158. For my wrap- hands free baby wearing= Happy Mama and Baby!
159. For Jeff- who coached Caiden to tell me "happy birthday" this morning in the sweetest sleepy girl voice ever!
160. That the "terrible twos" phase we're experiencing mysteriously goes into hibernation around family and friends.
161. For sweet Addison smiles
162. For smiles and coos at two a.m. erasing the desire/need for sleep in the moment.
163. Cloth diapering Addison makes me happy! Yeah for deals and creativity!
164. Caiden singing, " spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down" 150 times in a row- and it's STILL cute! ;)
165. For the smile on Jeff's face as he listens to her sing it.
166. I'm thankful that I found a group of like-minded, educated (in the sense of knowledgeable- not formal education) and welcoming Mama's with sweet children.
167. For the anticipation of a date with Jeff tomorrow- childless!
168. For yummy food and sweet friends last night.
169. For Addison's eyelashes ;)
170. That Caiden loves her sister.
171. That Addison is here safely and is healthy
172. For Becky the L & D "VBAC Queen" nurse, Sheila- nurse in recovery who used to work at Special Beginnings and who discovered Addison was struggling.
173. For my Dr. who fudged the "rules" for me to get my VBAC
174. For the (continued) support of the ICAN Mamas
175. For my labor and delivery pictures courtesy of my wonderful mother in law!!
176. That Jeff is so intentional about his alone time with C.
177. For so many well wishes on my b-day.
178. For fun craft/learning time with C.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Parenting isn't for sissies!

My good friend Allie moved to GA this week to follow a vision for their family- helping to sustain a church plant that really jives with their values, dreams for how they want to raise their boys, etc. I'm so happy for her, but so sad for us. Caiden will miss playing with their boys every Thursday while I work, and I will miss having a good friend nearby. That said, when she came over to say goodbye, we had the best conversation/ idea and we both ended up laughing like little girls at their first slumber party. We both agreed that it would make an excellent blog post, and even though I consider her a more talented writer, I think I can do it justice, and plus- I have computer access right now, and she doesn't know where hers is! ;)

So we were discussing how parenting isn't for sissies. I can't recollect what prompted that vein of conversation, but it was probably something related to a sticky substance that our offspring produce that somehow end up on our clothing. She shared with me an opinion that one of her acquaintances from college held about parents. They thought that people should have to take an IQ test and score a specific number in order to bear children. However, we both agreed that perhaps that wasn't the most appropriate assessment for parenting skill- perhaps something that could measure one's flexibility, creativity, and determination. How would you measure such non-tangible qualities? With a simulation, of course! The parent to be would be placed inside a room with a monkey for 36 hours, unable to shower, use the bathroom alone, or apply makeup.. From there, the prospective parent would have to accomplish certain tasks, like challenges (for all of you Survivor fans) within a certain time allotted, while their emotional and physical reactions are closely monitored.

The first challenge would be to capture the monkey and put him in clothing appropriate to the weather. The contestant's emotional response and verbal reaction will be carefully watched when the monkey refuses to wear a hat and pants, but insists on wearing galoshes to the park, and causes them to be late to the play date. Points will be deducted for every minute they are late. . Any inappropriate verbage will be interpreted into sign language and taught to the monkey to use at embarrassing moments like during church, or in front of Great Grandparents.

The next task will be to keep tabs on the monkey at the park, ensure it doesn't escape, to climb a tree too high, or consume any poisonous berries, but they are disallowed to restrain it in any way. When they both have worked up a healthy appetite, they must catch the monkey and give it a healthy lunch. When the monkey throws said lunch across the park, they are free to try again. When they think the monkey is full, they can eat their own lunch- they will need the energy! Of course the monkey will want to eat half of what they are eating, and the other half will be knocked from their hands onto the ground as they attempt to hold the monkey and eat at the same time. A good portion of that will make its way onto their clothes or perhaps into the monkey's hair.

Following the play date, they must bring the monkey back home and give it a bath. The amount of water on the "parent's" clothing and on the floor will be measured. When the monkey is clean, dry and clothed, they must convince the monkey to take a nap. Every time the monkey climbs out of the crib, screams, and for every minute the monkey generally does not sleep, points will be deducted. When the monkey is finally off into dream land, a second louder monkey will be released into the room. Any inappropriate yelling or language will be documented. Blood pressure and pulse rate will NOT be monitored for this part of the simulation.

The next challenge will involve making dinner. One must make an appetizer, entree, and dessert, coordinate the timing so their are all ready at the appropriate times, all while both monkeys climbs up their legs and perch on their head, or pulls all of the toys into the middle of the room taking special care to place legos right under foot. At this point, the prospective father will "arrive from work" and enter the scene. If he comments about the mother's hair being dirty, or her general appearance being sub-par, the house being a mess or dinner not ready, points will be deducted. Conversely, if he hugs the mother, tells her she's beautiful, thanks her for caring for the monkeys all day, says the meal smells great, or volunteers to clean up, points will be returned. If he kisses the mother unsolicited, he will receive a special cash bonus.

The last challenge for the first 24 hours will be to wake up every 2 hours with the monkey to feed it. (Several times the second monkey will wake up and need attending as well.

For the remaining part of the simulation, the parents must cope with their lack of sleep, reduced caloric intake, lack of alone time, and increased decibel level of the room. Depending on their teamwork, and the level of emotional support they offer, points will be added or deducted. If their marriage survives this simulation and the monkeys remain alive and healthy, and based on the points earned, then- and only then does the person earn the "right" to become a parent.

We're thinking of selling the idea to ABC for a new reality show- what do you think? (j/k- kind of) ;)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My Precious Addison Hope

Introducing...Addison Hope!


In these pics she is three weeks old, but she is 4.5 weeks now. Here are some more.



Here is her birth story. Many of you know that Caiden was delivered via c-section because of her breech presentation. The "norm" these days is once a c/s, always a c/s. But I wasn't having it. My Mom (thank God for her legacy!) had six VBAC (vaginal births after cesarean) and I knew I could do it too. I didn't want to schedule major abdominal surgery while having a new born and a two year old. So, I made a deal with my OB, and worked and worked to get the baby in the right position, to stay in shape, and make sure my body was ready to do the job God created it to do. I found a doula who walked with me through the last few weeks of my pregnancy, prayed for me, and really gave me so much confidence that my VBAC was imminent. (Thanks Christine!!) The plan: wait until the last possible moment to get to the hospital so that I could avoid any unnecessary interventions. Now all I had to do is wait and be patient with my body.

I had prodromal labor with her for weeks prior to her birth. The week of her birthday, I was awake for three nights in a row with contractions every 5-15 minutes apart. After two nights of this I had an appt with my OB and found out that after all that work, I was only dialated at one cm, but the baby's head was VERY low. I was rather discouraged, to say the least. Wed. morning, after laboring all night, at 7 am they spaced out to one or two an hour- AGAIN. I was over it. So I got up and went in to work for my half day. I wasn't walking very fast as my back had begun hurting, and everyone asked me to please go home. Some even followed me around with their cell phones out just waiting to call 911 if I went into labor right there. I was NOT amused!! After work I went to my Mom's, put Caiden down for a nap, and cancelled the ASL class I teach my sisters in favor for venting to my ICAN sisters (International Cesarean Awareness Network- a support group that educates women about birthing options) online and a nap. I was grumpy and so tired. I dozed sitting up on my parent's couch and awoke in the middle of a nasty contraction that was all in my back. I asked my Mom to push on my back through the duration of it, and that helped a lot. However, something popped, and I didn't know what happened. Apparently I lost my mucus plug. Mom was sure my water had broken. I called my doula who reminded me that it could mean labor was starting, or it could mean we're two weeks away. That calmed me down and gave me a reality check. Mentally, I settled in for another few days of this. But then the contractions came. And came, and came, and came- closer and closer. At one point, I thought, now this is promising! ;) Both of my parents took turns helping me breathe through contractions and pushing on my back. When they weren't pushing on my back, the contractions hurt so much I almost panicked. But as soon as they pushed, I was able to regain control. There was a lot of calling back and forth to Jeff and my doula, much of which I don't really have a good time line on because I was a little preoccupied. =) I do remember Jeff asking at some point if I could hold on for another 6 hours until after youth group was over. In my head I thought we probably had a 12 hour labor in front of us, but the thought of him asking that question, and the idea that he wouldn't be there for "those 12 hours" elicited me hanging up on him for the first time ever! At one point my parents decided that we needed to move closer to the hospital - my Grandma lives practically across the street. Moving didn't sound fun, but I agreed. However, the contractions were closer than 2 min apart. I could barely take a few steps before managing another contraction. We were sitting on a piano stool because it was the only thing that allowed me to sit and gave Dad access to my back. So two steps, and someone shoved a stool under me. Up and a few steps more, and more piano stool. The neighbors must have thought we were insane. Two steps out the door, and my water breaks. Hmmm- I guess this is the real thing! =) My Mom drove, I kneeled in the back seat facing backwards, and Dad climbed in after me to push on my back. It was the hardest and funniest ride of my life. My emotions ranged from being annoyed at Dad for back seat driving (literally!), to thanking God for him with my whole heart, being ecstatic that we were going to meet our little peanut, to worrying that we would arrive at the hospital too soon and we'd have a fight on our hands, and hoping that I wasn't leaking all over the back seat of my car!! Half way there I wanted to push so badly. Dad kept telling me to blow- NOT PUSH- easy for him to say!! How do you stop a speeding freight train? You don't. So I tried not to assist my body, but there was only so much I could do.

Upon arriving in the ER bay there was a lot of discussion about where they would park, and if we had called ahead. I remember thinking- what is this, take out? I'm having a baby here people! Finally someone found me a rickety old one foot rest-ed wheelchair and RAN for her life. I opened my eyes long enough to watch people scatter as she ran with me up to L & D. The mental picture still makes me laugh. When we got up to triage, the nurses were panicked. They knew I was a VBAC and they were scared. (Winter Park Hospital has a defacto ban on VBACs- they just don't do them!) They wanted me to change into their gown, get on the bed and be checked like a nice little girl. But all I knew was that I was listening to my body and maybe that included following their directions, and maybe it didn't. I also was feeling a little protective because I was alone up there now, and didn't have anyone to support me in my attempts, no one putting pressure on my back, and I felt like I needed to stall. So after a series of contractions I jumped up on the bed backwards, kneeling over the back of the bed. Ahh, that felt better. But now I really WAS pushing. Finally I figured that feeling the baby's head descending was a good sign and I could allow them to check me. 9.5 and stretchy. I grinned like a jack-o-lantern. I had done it! I had made it there on MY time table. It was like time stopped and everything was in slow motion. That is, until the nurses realized that "I wasn't going to get my c-section"- no really?! One of them kept shoving an epidural consent form in my face and telling me to sign it "just in case" even though I kept telling her NO DRUGS!!! I remember saying, "just let me push my baby out and we'll be fine!" Finally Jeff came in and took over- no more nurses bothering me again! =) Christine arrived and was my encouragement and let me squeeze the bones out of her hand. None of the nurses were happy with me and they were really unhappy when they discovered that we had been PLANNING this, AND my Dr. was in on it with me. (Thank you Jesus for Dr. Wilson!!!!) But there was ONE L&D nurse that breezed in, and said, "honey, you've got the VBAC Queen here- I've had three of them, and we've got this!" I seriously think she was an angel sent from God. So there I was, my support team was there like walls around me, Jesus had paved my path and I was ready. I pushed for about 15 minutes and our little girl slid out to meet us. It was the most amazing moment of my life. I felt like I was on top of the world. I do NOT love Addison MORE than I love Caiden, but I DO love her birth so much more!! I think I'm still high from her delivery and the experience of my body working in submission to the will of the God who created me. Some women say that they have to forget the pain of birth before they can have another pregnancy, but I loved that process so much I would do it again today. (I am NOT however ready for another new born, or another pregnancy, or weeks of contractions, so having #3 is not a given- Jeff would be quick to tell you!) God is SO good!!! Thank you Jesus for a healthy, beautiful, precious baby girl and a quick and safe arrival!!!

Birth pictures to follow later. =)